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Swastikas Drawn on Family's Car at Juneteenth Festival

The family had to ride home from the festival celebrating freedom of black slaves with the symbols of the Holocaust on their car.

Rich Pellegrino, an outspoken activist for immigrants' rights and an Austell resident, and his family saw something drawn on their car as they left the annual Juneteenth festival in Marietta on Saturday.

Pellegrino, founder of the Cobb Immigrant Alliance, knew immediately what the swastikas were and what they meant. However, his wife and 11-year-old granddaughter did not.

The swastikas were the symbols of the German Nazi Party, which murdered 6 million Jews and 6 million other people from other targeted groups. The swastikas have since become a core symbol of the Neo-Nazi and other white supremacist groups.

Juneteenth is a day celebrated by Americans on June 19 to commemorate the day the black slaves in Texas learned of their emancipation in 1865, three years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

"It is what it is," Pellegrino told South Cobb Patch.

Pellegrino tells others who are fighting for the rights of immigrants, those who are here legally and illegally, to "be prepared."

"We need unity more than ever, not only to win the next battle, but for our own protection and solidarity."

Pellegrino has filed a police report, and police are sending extra neighborhood patrols through his area for his family's safety.

He is not sure if he was targeted for being an outspoken advocate for immigrants' rights, especially after being quoted in two recent Marietta Daily Journal articles, regarding President Barack Obama's recent deportation policy change.

The swastikas could have been painted on his car because of all the bumper stickers he has, Pellegrino explained.

On his car, he has a faded 2008 Obama magnet. There's a picture of a Native American with the phrase, "Where's your papers?" In Spanish, the phrase, "We're here to stay. We're not going anywhere." is sprawled across one of the stickers. Another one asks, "Who would Jesus deport?" Still another has hands of different races with the words, "Help America bridge the racial divide."

Lastly, he has a bumper sticker with "bahai.org" on the bumper. The website is for his own religion, Baha'i.

Since the swastikas were painted on his car, Pellegrino has not removed them.

He and his family went out for Father's Day with the symbols painted on the car. They went to play tennis Monday night with them on the car.

"To me, I don't know if I'll take them off right away," Pellegrino said.

Editor's Note: Pellegrino now says the swastikas could have been drawn on his family's car while it was in his driveway on Sunday. He also said his wife did know what the symbols meant when she saw them.

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